Bellingham is the thirteenth largest city in the state of Washington and the seat of Whatcom County. Acclaimed for its easy access to outdoor opportunities in the San Juan Islands and North Cascades, as well as its proximity to the large cities of Vancouver and Seattle, Bellingham offers an extensive park and trail system for outdoor lovers while boaters can find unlimited recreational opportunities in Bellingham Bay.
The city of Bellingham is about 29 square miles in size with a population of about 84,000, according to 2014 census data. Geographically, Bellingham’s highest elevations are found at the peak of Alabama Hill (500 ft) and north of Lake Padden on Yew Street (800 ft) with its lowest elevation at sea level of Bellingham Bay. Many places around the city and western Whatcom Coutny offer views of Mount Baker – take a drive down Bakerview Road and you’ll understand where it gets its name. There are many lakes in close proximity to Bellingham, with Lake Whatcom forming part of the eastern boundary of the city.
During the first Friday of each month, Bellingham plays host to a city-wide art walk that has grown immensely in popularity with more and more participating galleries each year, including galleries like Make.Shift Art Space, Allied Arts of Whatcom County, and the Whatcom Museum of History and Art. The museum also sponsors exhibits of painting, sculpture, and local history all year long. The Bellingham Railway Museum offers displays explaining the history of railroading in Whatcom County, as well as model trains and a freight-train simulator. The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, formerly known as the American Museum of Radio and Electricity, features a collection of rare artifacts from 1580 into the 1950s, providing educational resources about the history of electronics and radio broadcasting.
By way of the many parks found throughout Bellingham, the scenic splendor of Bellingham and Whatcom County does not go unappreciated. Whatcom Falls Park is a 241-acre large park with about 4 miles of trails, encompassing the Whatcom Creek gorge and running directly through the heart of the city. About 31 miles east of Bellingham, the Mount Baker Ski Area holds the world record for the greatest amount of snowfall in one season, accumulating more than 12 ft. of snow on average annually and is home to many of the world’s first snowboarding champions. Just south of Bellingham, Chuckanut Drive offers a winding road with cliff-side views of the sea, the Olympic Mountains and San Juan Islands. For more information on the parks in Bellingham and Whatcom County, visit the Parks Department website.
- City of Bellingham – Planning & Community Development Department
- Bellingham Chamber of Commerce
- Bellingham and Whatcom County Tourism
The community of Bellingham offers many options for quality education, including three public high schools, four public middle schools, three community colleges, a large university and an array of private schools.
Bellingham Public School District
- Public High Schools: Bellingham High School, Sehome High School, Squalicum High School
- Public Middle Schools: Fairhaven Middle School, Kulshan Middle School, Shuksan Middle School, Whatcom Middle School
- University: Western Washington University